Hours after the United Nations Food Summit was held in New York, Nestle, a Switzerland owned food and beverage company, announced its intention to invest N535 billion in regenerative agriculture food systems.
Nestle currently operates a large investment in 22 countries including Nigeria with its country headquarters located in Ilupeju, Lagos State, and its factories sited in Agbara and Sagamu interchange on Lagos-Ibadan road in Ogun State.
In a statement issued by the company shortly after participating in the summit, its chairman, Paul Bulcke, disclosed that the food company will be investing 1.2 billion in Swiss Francs over the next five years.
The effort, Mr Bulcke noted, will spark regenerative agriculture across the company’s supply chain, using three primary levers to help farmers adopt regenerative practices.
Based on Nigeria’s exchange rate of N444.98 per Franc on Friday, the CHF1.2b is equivalent to N535 billion Nigerian Naira.
According to the release, the levers include applying state-of-the-art science and technology, providing technical assistance, offering investment support and paying premiums for regenerative agricultural goods.
The statement reads in part; “Nestlé will work with its food system partners, including the company’s network of more than 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers, to advance regenerative farming practices at the heart of the food system.
“As part of this journey, the company will also initiate new programs to help address the social and economic challenges of the transition,”
Explaining further, the company noted that the step was taken as part of Nestlé’s contribution to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 as well as follow the recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shows the climate crisis is intensifying.
Mr Bulcke added; “We know that regenerative agriculture plays a critical role in improving soil health, restoring water cycles and increasing biodiversity for the long term. These outcomes form the foundation of sustainable food production and, crucially, also contribute to achieving our ambitious climate targets.”
Also speaking, Nestle’s chief executive officer, Mark Schneider, said: “Today, Nestlé published the most important regenerative farming practices that the company wants to promote. They include, among others, enhancement of biodiversity, soil conservation, regeneration of water cycles and integration of livestock.
“Agriculture accounts for nearly two-thirds of Nestlé’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with dairy and livestock making up about half of that. Nestlé is assessing cutting-edge science and technology to reduce emissions at farm level,” he said.
About the UN food summit
Under the leadership of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the UN Food Systems Summit was held on September 23.
The completely virtual event was positioned to serve as a historic opportunity to empower all people to leverage the power of food systems to drive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and get countries back on track to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Over the past 18 months, the summit has brought together all UN Member States and constituencies around the world including thousands of youth, food producers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, private sector, and the UN system to bring about tangible, positive changes to the world’s food systems.
According to frontiersin.org, a sustainable food system website, regenerative agriculture is an alternative means of producing food that may have lower or even net positive environmental or social impacts.
It is a system of farming principles and practices that seek to rehabilitate and enhance the entire ecosystem of the farm by placing a heavy premium on soil health with attention also paid to water management, fertilizer use, and more.
It is a method of farming that improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them.
Regenerative agriculture has recently received significant attention from producers, retailers, researchers, and consumers, as well as politicians and the mainstream media.